Making the switch from corporate to freelancing can be dreadful, I mean, who wants to leave a well-paying job that comes with lots of benefits to go into freelancing where you don’t exactly know where your next paycheck is coming from?
In the not-so-distant past, I used to daydream about working in the corporate world. And yes, I finally got my wish.
But after a while of working in corporate, I realized that it wasn’t really where I wanted to be, I wanted something different.
I knew becoming a freelancer would have its own challenges, but for me, it was better than being stuck at a job I hated.
You are probably one of those people who dread making the switch from corporate to freelancing and that’s why you’re still stuck at a job you hate.
I made the switch a few years ago and I don’t regret doing so.
In this blog post, I’m going to teach you the steps to take that will help you go from 9-5 to freelancing or even better, online business ownership.
But hey, I made a short video on this same topic, if you’d like to watch it on YouTube, then click the link below to do so.
Alright, let’s do a deep dive into what you need to know.
As I mentioned before, I really wanted to work in corporate, and I did get my dream actualised, but I hated it and I decided to move.
But the truth is, it wasn’t as simple as I thought it would be. There were so many challenges on the way. So before you quit your job and charge into freelancing head straight, here are a few things I think you should know first.
You’ll be giving up a lot of sleep
Right now, you probably wake up at 5 am and get to work at 8 right? So I guess because of that you’d go to bed early, say between 9 and 10?
Guess what? When you’re working for yourself, beauty sleep is not going to be your friend.
When I worked in the bank, I’d wake up at 5 in the morning and get to work at 7.30. Although my home was just a stone’s throw from the bank, I still hated it.
Only to realize that I’d be pulling a lot of all nights while doing freelance.
There’s no crime in sleeping early. But I bet you won’t be sleeping like a baby when you’re not sure of where your next income will come from.
You have to be actively working to get yourself in front of potential clients and all you’d be thinking of is how to do that successfully.
Check out this blog post on the tech skills you need for your online business to succeed.
Making the switch from corporate to freelancing means you’ll literally be leaving your 9-5 to work 24/7.
But the sweet thing about it is that you will be doing this on your own terms. No one will dictate to you when to sleep or when to wake up.
There’s this sweet feeling you get when you’re pulling all nights working on your website or designing your templates.
You’ll feel like you don’t know what you’re doing
Because really, do you?
Just imagine, you left your cozy, daily benefits-filled 9-5 for uncertainty, sometimes you’d ask yourself if you were crazy.
You’ll think about running back to your former boss to plead for your old job back. I actually considered doing that then.
Look, when you are starting out, you’ll be wearing all the hats you can ever wear in business.
You will be the customer care rep, marketer, content creator, social media manager, tech consultant, strategist and so much more.
There are times when you’ll get really confused because you don’t know which hat to wear next.
But your passion for the work you want to do and your desire to become an online business owner will keep you going, and that’s assuming that passion is strong enough
The dream to start freelancing and grow into an online business owner is what will keep you going, and that is assuming the passion is strong enough.
There’ll be times when you’ll get booked and times where you’ll only hear crickets
The life of a freelancer is not a continual feast. Sometimes you’ll be fully booked, other times you won’t.
That’s just the reality. You will always have to work double time to get in front of potential clients.
Some of the best ways to get in front of people are through content marketing.
So you could start a YouTube channel, a blog, a Podcast, and so on just to get people to know about you.
You will always have to show up even when you don’t feel like it.
I record and upload YouTube videos every week, sometimes I won’t feel like sitting down in front of my camera. But I just have to get it done.
You’ll have those moments a lot when you are freelancing, but you need to set your eyes on the prize.
Here’s the thing, there’s an exponential curve in freelancing, where the more you get experience by doing and the more you upskill yourself, the more often you’ll get booked.
So now that we’ve cleared the air about what you should know, how then can you easily make the switch from corporate to freelancing?
Hey before we do that, here’s a free ebook you should get. It will teach you how to start an online business from scratch.
1. Stop Wasting Time
First of all, you need to stop wasting time on things that do not matter and be laser-focused on what you want to do.
This may sound too extreme, but you need to drop everything you know won’t be useful to you on your journey.
And that includes people who may pull you back. You need to cut back on the time you spend hanging out.
I see a lot of content creators on Instagram who would rather go to Burger King with their friends and ‘record a video or two’ than actually sit down and do the work.
If you are a content creator who wants to get an engaged audience, except Burger King is paying you to do a piece, I don’t think people will be interested in how you eat Whoppers.
But if you are a lifestyle content creator, and eating Whoppers is part of your content, then go for it.
Also, you need to cut back on the time you spend on social media.
I like to put my phone far away from me when I’m working because I just instinctively open up Instagram or YouTube.
When I was starting out, I used social media as a learning platform. I’d watch YouTube videos of people in my niche.
I’d look through other people’s carousels on Instagram, see how they were writing copies and so on and you should do that too.
But when I fully got into the game, I knew that I needed to create a balance between learning and getting distracted.
Another distraction that stops you from easily switching to your dream occupation is Netflix.
I know this because I’m a victim. Sometimes when I open up my laptop, I’d almost type out Netflix on my tab and start watching.
But I had to be disciplined.
Watching movies though, may not completely be a distraction. You may need to relax, unwind or get creative.
So what I do is, shut down my laptop once it’s 7 pm, that’s assuming I don’t have a deadline, and then I start watching.
If you do not apply discipline, your deliverables and deadlines will be right there staring at you, while Netflix takes you on a joyride.
So rather than spending time on Netflix, why don’t you use that time to work on your website?
Pick a specific time to hang out with your friends for fun and whoppers, but do what you have to do.
2. Draw Up a Project TimeTable
When I was starting my freelancing/online business journey, I had to sit down and literally draw up a lifetime project table.
I had to come to the realization that if the business was going to succeed, it all depended on how far I was willing to go and grow.
How can you draw up a project timetable? Let’s look at some ways below.
Define your goals & add timelines
What are your objectives? What are the key milestones that you want to achieve or key deliverables that will help your journey move quickly?
When you begin planning and drafting your project schedule, you want to include all project activities. Write them down so that you won’t forget or get confused.
List each step or task that is involved in the project. Break down the milestones or deliverables into smaller tasks and subtasks to be sure all bases are covered.
For instance, you are going to be taking a lot of online courses at different stages of your freelancing journey. Attach timelines to that.
Also, you are going to be creating your website and setting up social media channels and other digital marketing channels. When will they be up and running?
Identify the people involved
Make a list of the people who will be involved in your project.
hese could be your web developer, your designer, your lawyer, or every other person that would be involved in setting it up.
Add your friends and family members to that list, here’s why.
When you’re starting out switching from corporate to freelancing, you are virtually unknown to anyone.
Therefore, you want to reach out to people who already know you and let them know what you are doing.
These people are called your low-hanging fruits. They know you very well and will be willing to give you a chance.
Also, you will be able to perfect your skills by working with them.
For instance, If you are a web developer, and you make your Uncle’s food delivery website, it’s a good way to perfect your web design skill.
If you are a writer or proofreader and you work on your friend’s document, you get to perfect your skills.
So working with your low-hanging fruits helps you get good at what you do, not only that, another cool thing about it is they make up your portfolio.
When you finally start offering your services to outsiders, you’ll have a body of work to show them as proof that you know what you’re doing.
3. Start Creating Templates for Everything
You are going to be carrying out a lot of repetitive work once you start freelancing.
For instance, drawing up contracts, and proposals, creating your rate cards, designing your social media content, preparing your YouTube video, creating workflows and so on.
You need to create templates for that and SOPs so that you won’t burn out or you won’t waste valuable time on repetitive things.
Templates are pre-formatted documents, intended to speed up the creation of commonly used document types.
At least that’s the meaning Google showed me.
Templates are more like patterns that you reuse for many purposes.
A good example is the templates for your social media designs. If you are not exactly loaded to hire a designer and you decide to use Canva, it’s a good idea to create templates.
The first thing I do once I get a social media content creation job is to create a template for the client.
I look at the vast designs on Canva and choose the ones that I know fit their brand, I then put them in a template folder on Canva.
You are going to be carrying out a lot of repetitive work in your freelance/online business.
You need a procedure that describes all the activities necessary to complete these tasks.
SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures)
The purpose of SOPs is to provide the policies, processes and standards needed for you to succeed.
They can help you reduce errors in your work, increase efficiency and create a safe working environment for you and your team.
SOPs will detail your workflow. For instance, what are your procedures for onboarding a client and offboarding them?
SOPs are written for a set of people who will perform the task. Without guidelines, each person might complete the job in his or her own way.
How do you write your SOPs?
Note down all the steps you take from start to finish when you want to start a project, then systemize them and save them in a document.
If you are a content creator, note down all the steps you take to create a YouTube video for instance, then document them and use them or send them to your team.
4. Set Up Your Content Library
Content creation is very crucial for your freelance/online business success. But coming up with content can be the most stressful thing ever.
A content library is a storage space where you save content you’ve previously used and the ones you stumble upon.
Your content library should include videos, audio, reports, proposals, FAQs, templates, pictures, designs and so on, that you find useful.
You can put their links in a drive and go to them whenever you need inspiration. This will help you save time when planning your content.
The purpose of this content library is to help you save time when trying to come up with content for your social media platforms.
You won’t have to spend hours brainstorming, you can simply recycle your previously used content, tailoring them to match the now or you can go through the others you have curated and get ideas from them.
I have a notepad(s) where I write new things I learn down. I love to write as I read, so whatever I’m reading online, best believe that I’m writing them down.
When I run out of ideas for my content, I go to my notepad to get inspired.
You can have screenshots of posts, infographics, designs and so on on a file on your phone.
A content library is more or less like a swipe file that you keep with you and revisit anytime you run out of ideas.
5. Consume Other People’s Content
How often do you consume content from other people? If you really want to reach more people through content, you must actively consume other people’s content.
Before I started my YouTube channel, I watched a lot of YouTube videos, before I started my blog, I read a lot of blog posts.
Consuming other people’s content will help you create your own content and content platforms easily.
Watch tons of YouTube videos to inspire you to create your own. It’s only after you’ve devoured videos that you’ll feel confident about setting up your own channel.
Listen to podcasts too, because many times, you’ll need to listen to content on the go.
Read blog posts on your industry/niche and get informed.
Let me be honest, what I’ve written in this blog post is much more concise than what I said in the YouTube video.
But you can still check it out because I shared a lot of my own stories.
Making the switch from corporate to freelancing doesn’t have to be dreadful, thousands of people have done it.
If after reading this blog post, you still feel uncertain, then reach out to me, let’s help you do it without fear.